Seven University of Alabama at Birmingham students have been selected to attend the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) at Arizona State University in Phoenix from March 21-23. CGI U was launched by President Bill Clinton in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.
Together, invited students, national youth organizations, topic experts and celebrities work to make a difference in CGI U’s five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. To be considered for the annual meeting, each student must develop a commitment to action, which is a specific plan that addresses a pressing local or global challenge.
UAB students came up with projects that will have both local and global reach.
Leah Berkebile, a junior majoring in biology and Middle Eastern studies, and Charity Ryder, a junior majoring in biology and anthropology, plan to create “Edificamos,” (Spanish for “We Build”) a student organization that will help to construct three desperately needed classrooms for the Jardan de Amor school in rural Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala. The group will raise funds for the project and travel to the area to assist with construction.
Sudhanshu Kaushik, a freshman majoring in international affairs, has a mission to create a more progressive India by teaching students at three schools in Pundri, Haryana, about the negative aspects of the caste system and other divisive factors.
Ali Massoud, a junior majoring in international affairs, will train UAB students in a social justice workshop designed by the YWCA to explore issues such as racial prejudice, ethnic intolerance and socioeconomic inequality. The students will then travel to Serbia to share their lessons with students in elementary and high schools and at the University of Belgrade.
Forrest Satterfield, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering, plans to create a universal and inexpensive system of actuators, which are electric motors with built-in computers, to be used in prostheses and orthotics. An interchangeable set of three different-sized actuators will work in tandem with various accessories to provide improved movement for an affected limb or extremity, such as a leg or a finger.
Jiabin Shen, a graduate student majoring in psychology, aims to reduce pediatric dog-bite injuries in rural China. By collaborating with a local school system and developing an effective, but inexpensive, intervention program, Shen plans to change children’s actual behaviors with dogs and thus reduce their injuries.
Miesha Williams, a junior majoring in political science, is committed to establishing Women for Political Progress at UAB. This organization will build a new foundation for the political advancement of women on campus by educating them about political affiliation and ideology, and empowering them with the necessary support, skills and confidence to take on leadership positions on campus, in the city of Birmingham and within the state of Alabama.